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Nominations Open for AWP Small Press Publisher Award

Titles from Bull City Press © David Leone

The Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Small Press Publisher Award is open for nominations through September 15:

This is an annual prize that recognizes the important role that nonprofit presses and literary journals play in publishing creative works and introducing new authors to the reading public. The award acknowledges the hard work, creativity, and innovation of these presses and journals, and honors their contributions to the literary landscape through their publication of consistently excellent work.

Throughout the year, we’ve been highlighting North Carolina-based publishers on our White Cross School blog: why not nominate one of them?

The winner receives a $2,000 honoarium; a complimentary exhibit booth and two complimentrary registrations for a future AWP conference.

It’s an odd-numbered award year (2019), which means this award will go to a publisher. (In even years, the award goes to a literary journal.)

The nomination guidelines are extensive; read all about it, here.

The basic criteria?

The AWP Small Press Publisher Award is for presses or journals that have consistently demonstrated excellence in the following: quality and discernment in curatorship of published work; quality of content; quality of editing; and skill and innovation in design. Nominees will be committed to nurturing the talents of their published authors, supporting their literary communities, and actively engaging in consistent and effective public engagement and outreach.

Nominate a worthy small press here!

“Commercially Questionable”: Scuppernong Editions

Since 2013, Scuppernong Books has been serving the literati of Greensboro and the surrounding areas with a well-curated bookstore that hosts tons of events each week for readers, writers, and the greater citizenry.

Scuppernong Books was also the driving force behind this year’s inaugural Greensboro Bound Literary Festival that welcomed big-time names like Nikki Giovanni, Carmen Maria Machado, and Lee Smith.

It also serves as an excellent local watering hole.

Next on tap? Scuppernong Editions, launched this month, the “publishing shed” (nay, “red-headed stepchild”) of Scuppernong Books, “dedicated to commercially questionable writing in all genres.”

Their first title is No, It’s Just You by Andrew Saulters, a collection of 58 one-act plays and one montage.

“If a word is repeated at a regular interval, the eventual result is simple music. In these one-act plays and montage transcribed from public conversations, Andrew Saulters fumbles in pursuit of such music. Will he find it? Could he?”

The launch party happens Tuesday, September 4, at 7:00 pm at Scuppernong Books in downtown Greensboro.

Described as “lightly mundane” by Ben Grohl, all the the blurbs for this title are, in fact, hilarious, and definitely worth checking out here.

Scuppernong Editions is not accepting submissions at this time. But it’s a fair bet that if you hang out at the launch party, you might learn a lot more about what else is in the works!

See you there.

Press 53 Offers Books of the Month

Press 53, based in Winston-Salem, has launched a new promotional effort, steeply discounting a selection of books each month:

Each month, Press 53 will offer a selection of poetry and short fiction titles at discounted rates so you can jazz up your library and enjoy more great reading.

Books of the Month for August include the poetry collection Scissored Moon by Stacy R. Nigliazzo, which took First Place in the 2014 AJN Book of the Year Awards in Public Interest and Creative Works; the short-story collection Beasts and Men by Curtis Smith; and the poetry collection Balancing Acts by Yahia Lababidi, a Silver Concho Poetry Series Selection, which is marked down $10, or half-price!

Books of the Month run $7.95 – $9.95.

Press 53, est. 2005, publishes short fiction collections and poetry, as well as the literary journal Prime Number Magazine. They sponsor an annual award for both poetry and fiction and host an annual gathering of writers.

The 2019 High Road Literary Festival for Poetry and Short Fiction runs March 22-24, 2019, at the Embassy Suites in downtown Winston-Salem. The day includes workshops and one-on-one critiques, as well as a large vendor room that is free and open to the public. Keep an eye on for more details.

You can also follow Press 53 on Facebook and Twitter.

NC Poet Laureate Installation Sep. 19

From our friends at the North Carolina Arts Council:

Jaki Shelton Green, NC Poet Laureate

Raleigh—Jaki Shelton Green will be installed as North Carolina’s ninth Poet Laureate on Wed., Sept. 19 in a ceremony at the State Capitol.

The ceremony starts at 4:15 pm in the old House Chamber at the State Capitol, located at One East Edenton St. in downtown Raleigh. This is a free event, but reservations are needed to attend.

Governor Roy Cooper announced Green’s appointment last month. She will succeed Shelby Stephenson, who was named poet laureate in early 2015.

A native of Orange County, Green has been active in North Carolina’s literary and teaching community for more than forty years. She has penned eight books of poetry, co-edited two poetry anthologies, and written one play. She is a 2014 North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame inductee and was the recipient of the North Carolina Award for Literature in 2003.

The ceremony will include readings by both Stephenson and Green.

Green currently teaches Documentary Poetry at Duke University Center for Documentary Studies. Over the last forty years, she has taught poetry and facilitated creative writing classes at public libraries, universities and community colleges, public and private schools, and with literary organizations across the U.S.

She plans to focus her efforts on the creation of documentary poetry, working with North Carolina communities to explore the ways they document their unique regional histories and significant historical events.

To attend, please complete the reservation information here.

For more information contact the North Carolina Arts Council at 919-807-6500 or visit

About the North Carolina Arts Council

The North Carolina Arts Council builds on our state’s long-standing love of the arts, leading the way to a more vibrant future. The Arts Council is an economic catalyst, fueling a thriving nonprofit creative sector that generates $2.12 billion in annual direct economic activity. The Arts Council also sustains diverse arts expression and traditions while investing in innovative approaches to art-making. The North Carolina Arts Council has proven to be a champion for youth by cultivating tomorrow’s creative citizens through arts education.

Wiley Cash Launches Open Canon Book Club

This summer, New York Times bestselling novelist and North Carolina native Wiley Cash launched the Open Canon Book Club, an online community designed to “introduce readers to voices and portrayals of the American experience they may not have otherwise encountered in their day-to-day lives, their education, or their book club meetings.”

Cash believes that “literary diversity plays a vital role in making us understood to one another, and this hope of understanding is the hinge upon which our democracy swings.”

To those ends, Cash will select novels for the book club to read and discuss in an online environment. Cash also will provide supplemental material such as further reading, documentaries, and more meant to round out the conversation.

Several bookstore across the Southeast are offering 10-20 percent discounts for Open Canon Book Club members, including just about any bookstore you can name in North Carolina. (Our hearts swelled with pride at the extensive list of participating Tar Heel bookstores, way more than any other state!)

For more information, click here.

To join the book club, click here.

Wiley Cash is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels The Last Ballad, A Land More Kind than Home, and This Dark Road to Mercy. The founder of the Open Canon Book Club and co-founder of the Land More Kind Appalachian Artists Residency, he has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Weymouth Center. He serves as the writer-in-residence at the University of North Carolina-Asheville and teaches in the Mountainview Low-Residency MFA. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and their two young daughters.

Love a Librarian? Nominate Them!

Do you love a librarian? Nominate them for the 2018 I Love My Librarian Award!

The American Library Association (ALA) is seeking nominations for the coveted 2018 I Love My Librarian Award, which recognizes librarians for transforming lives and communities through education and lifelong learning. The national award invites library users to nominate their favorite librarians working in public, school, college, community college or university libraries. Nominations are being accepted now through Oct. 1, 2018 at

Last year’s winners came from all over the United States, including Alabama, California, Georgia, and Wisconsin.

Each winner receives a $5,000 cash award, a plaque, and a travel stipend to attend the I Love My Librarian Award ceremony and reception in New York City on December 4 hosted by the award co-sponsor, the philanthropic foundation Carnegie Corporation of New York.

The American Library Association is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice of libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit

For full details about the I Love My Libarian Award, click here.

A Leader in Legal Education: Carolina Academic Press

Ever wonder what lawyers read for fun?

Maybe something like Richard C. Wydick’s Plain English for Lawyers, a “helpful reference now in its fifth edition and touted by The New York Times as ‘. . . probably the most popular legal text today. . . .’”

Over the course of thirty-five years, Carolina Academic Press (CAP), based in Durham, has published this title and more than 600 others. Although recognized worldwide for their contributions to law canon, they also publish texts about subjects such as Africana Studies, Logic and Mathematics, Sociology and Religion, and much more.

We at Carolina Academic Press are proud of our hard-earned reputation as a publisher that puts emphasis on author satisfaction above other considerations. We strive to maintain this reputation by constantly seeking efficiencies in our production schedules, by knowing and aggressively marketing to our core consumers, by producing high-quality finished products, and by dependably attending to the needs of each individual author.

Forthcoming titles include Falolaism: The Epistemologies and Methodologies of Africana Knowledge by Abdul Karim Bangura; The Maintenance of Life: Preventing Social Death through Euthanasia Talk and End-of-Life Care—Lessons from The Netherlands (Second Edition) by Frances Norwood; and Restorative Justice: Integrating Theory, Research and Practice by Aida Y. Hass-Wisecup and Caryn E. Saxon.

CAP recently purchased the law school education titles from LexisNexis® Matthew Bender. In an open letter to their authors and friends, CAP described how this purchase helped solidify “CAP’s role as a leading legal education publisher and strengthens (their) already strong and diversified list.” For the full letter, click here.

Carolina Academic Press welcomes queries for titles in law and other academic areas.

Visit their website at and follow them on Facebook.

The Bicentennial of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley

The Burwell School Historic Site in Hillsborough is celebrating the bicentennial of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a former slave who became a seamstress and civil activist, as well as a confidant of Mary Todd Lincoln.

The Burwell School Historic Site brings important nineteenth century history alive for 4,500 visitors a year.

From 1835-1857, this property was the home of the Rev. Robert Armistead Burwell, his wife, Margaret Anna Robertson Burwell, and their twelve children. For twenty of those years, as a means of supplementing Robert’s modest minister’s salary, they operated an academy for girls from the area and far beyond. As a school in the antebellum South, the school was available only to white girls; more than 200 girls attended the school, which offered a fairly rigorous curriculum over a four-year span.

For seven years of the Burwells’ time in Hillsborough, the site was also the workplace and home of Elizabeth Hobbs, an enslaved Burwell family servant “on loan” to Robert and Anna. Her time in the household was marked by hard work and harsh treatment to quell her “determined” nature. She later purchased her freedom from Robert’s sister and became a very successful dressmaker in Washington under her married name of Elizabeth Keckley. She became Mary Lincoln’s “modiste” and confidential friend during the Civil War, an experience she related in her memoir, Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House.

From our friends at the Burwell School:

We’ve recently added two new books to our collection, each printed in the nineteenth century, and each with a connection to the Burwell School: a first edition of Elizabeth Keckley’s memorable 1868 memoir, Behind the Scenes, or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House; and a 1850 volume of Isaac Watts’ On the Improvement of the Mind.

Elizabeth Keckley’s 1868 memoir begins with an understatement: “My life has been an eventful one.”

As young Lizzy Hobbs, she was an enslaved servant in the Burwell’s Hillsborough household from 1835 – 1842. Keckley described enslavement, hardships and mistreatment in Hillsborough, her struggle for liberty and career as a dressmaker, and her experiences as a frequent visitor to the private quarters of the White House as Mary Lincoln’s “modiste.”

A first edition copy is now on display in the Keckley exhibit, in the South Parlor of the Burwell School. A 2016 edition of the book, by Eno Publishers, is available at the School for $10.

On the Improvement of the Mind by Isaac Watts was first published in 1741 and was much admired in academic circles. The Burwells included it in their school’s Course of Study, a feature that would appeal to educated parents of prospective students.

Isaac Watts, D.D., (1674-1748), was an English scholar, clergyman, and writer, known for his many popular hymns, including “Joy to the World.” He produced books on logic that were widely used in academic settings. In On the Improvement of the Mind, Watts set out “General Rules for the Improvement of Knowledge” which stress self-evaluation, discernment, and lifelong study. This accords with Mrs. Burwell’s philosophy of education, to produce “thorough scholars and useful members of society.”

Our 1850 edition of  Watts’ On the Improvement of the Mind features “Corrections, Questions and Supplement” by Joseph Emerson, Principal of the Female Seminary of Wethersfield, Connecticut, making this edition an especially appropriate one for our site.

We are grateful for the donations of members of the Historic Hillsborough Commission (Janie Morris, with husband Jerry, and Evelyn Poole-Kober), which made the acquisitions possible.

From Behind the Scenes by Elizabeth Keckley
“Mr. Lincoln was generous by nature, and though his whole heart was in the war, he could not but respect the valor of those opposed to him. His soul was too great for the narrow, selfish views of partisanship. Brave by nature himself, he honored bravery in others, even his foes.”

From On the Improvement of the Mind by Isaac Watts
“Once a day, especially in the early years of life and study, call yourselves to an account what new ideas, what new proposition or truth you have gained, what further confirmation of known truths, and what advances you have made in any part of knowledge.”

The Burwell School is open Wednesday through Sunday, free admission, tours daily.

Visit them on the web at

The Power of Cosmic Relationships: Two of Cups Press

In a Tarot deck, the Two of Cups signifies new rewarding relationships, as well as honor, respect, and excellent cosmic energy for future partnerships. Most cards also feature the caduceus of Hermes, an ancient symbol often associated with trade and positive financial return.

Two of Cups Press, based in the Triad, takes on only a handful of annual projects, mostly anthologies and chapbooks. But what this small publisher lacks in volume they more than make up for in the quality of the titles they deliver, time and time again, and the attention they devote to their loyal authors.

Hoping to capture “magic on paper,” Two of Cups Press publishes three chapbooks each year through its annual Chapook Contest (open April 15 – June 15). Style and theme are open, though in general, the press hopes to publish historically marginalized voices.

Recent titles include Neither Nearing Nor Departing, poems by Nick Admussen, the 2016 Chapbook Contest winner. Other finalists from 2016 include Tree of the Apple, poems and prose by Kelly DuMar, and The Fear Archives, poems by Kelly Lorraine Andrews.

You can occassionally find Two of Cups Press in the exhibit hall at an NCWN Spring Conference, and the founding editor, Leigh Anne Hornfeldt, is a past panelist at Slush Pile Live!

Visit them on the web at or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.


By Katey Schultz

I’ve been conducting informal research amongst Maximum Impact’s private students, writers I meet at Interlochen Center for the Arts, and fellow creatives whose work I admire. More than anything else related to process, this is what I want to know right now:

How does accountability work for you, as a writer?

Because at the end of the day, whether you’re Jack Driscoll or Jane Doe, at some point in time, you have to actually finish something. And no matter if you’re making your living full-time as a writer or eeking out a few minutes here and there between a career in a different field, you still have some sort of motivation that urges you forward, to the next page, the next chapter, the final resolution. In short: No writer starts a story, hoping that it will never end.

The answers I’ve been getting are as varied as the stories we’re all writing.

Some writers have “text buddies” they check in with daily, sharing word counts or revision goals. Others use apps or online organizers such as Submittable to nudge themselves toward contest deadlines or themed calls for submission. Many attend conferences or workshops that require writing samples or assignments, because a hard deadline will guarantee a completed draft. Still others will enroll in online classes or receive prompts by e-mail, to assure they stay engaged with their creative sides and start new work inspired by new craft tools or community experiences.

All of this motivated me to imagine an innovative, online community for writers that offers sustainable accountability with a low price point. The program is called Airstream Dispatches and it offers a low-pressure, supportive environment for writers with prompts, readings, and instructor access…without a huge time commitment.

To get started, I’m offering a free resource guide and craft lesson right here.

It’s my belief that accountability for writers doesn’t have to be about harsh, rigid deadlines or word counts. It doesn’t have to be about bullying yourself into writing. Writing is hard enough. Enjoyable, yes, but also—let’s be honest—hard work.

So many writers I mentor make it harder for themselves by acting as their own biggest bullies. But bullying doesn’t help in any sustainable way. On the other hand, gentle accountability for writers is about having a supportive, generous community you can check in with. It’s about getting grounded, talking craft, generating new work, and connecting. And guess what? I’ve tested this approach with myself and writers across the globe. It works.

If you prefer persuasion in a list format, here are three reasons why accountability (of the gentle, community-sort) works for writers:

1. Writers are human.
Desiring rewards/acknowledgement is a natural facet of human behavior. “Neuroscientists have known for years that dopamine is linked to positive behavior reinforcement and the ‘ding, ding, ding’ jackpot feeling you get when you accomplish a goal. Recently they have also discovered the specific receptors that link dopamine directly to the formation of good and bad habits” (Psychology Today Online).

Some of the things writers struggle with (deadlines, submissions, writing to achieve a goal) can shift towards a good habit when writers have accountability, either one-on-one or within a larger community.

“Dopamine is the fuel that keeps people motivated to persevere and achieve a goal. You have the power to increase your production of dopamine by changing your attitude and behavior”(Psychology Today Online).

In a group setting like Airstream Dispatches, we’re bolstered and encouraged to make small changes to our writerly behaviors that ultimately impact goal achievement and boost our dopamine, which continues the positive reinforcement loop. Supporting each other as writers and creating accountability experiences all adds up to more writing goals met.

2. Accountability makes us visible.
All the invisible stories and stuff we tell ourselves that limit or get in the way of reaching our goals becomes visible with accountability. The stuff we dream up in our heads, the drafts our friends never see, the character sketches and doubts and wonderings—all become visible when we gather with the spirit of support and growth. That’s one major reason I provide writing prompts with optional sharing/deadlines, via Airstream Dispatches. I’ve found that this gentle nudge to move forward and past the invisible stories in a writer’s head helps motivate us to show up and share what we’ve been working on.

3. Accountability creates community.
Even the most introverted or hermit writer still wants to feel “seen” or “understood.” The accountability in Airstream Dispatches gives writers a chance to show up and check-in; it gives writers a chance to exercise their skills as readers (thereby working on their work without actually working on it, in other words, learning through the work of others, instead of continuing to stare at their own pages).

Accountability, in this curated experience, will enliven and inspire, deepening your creative practice.

If you’re ready for a new type of accountability, Airstream Dispatches is the right place for you. It’s a chance for us to gather in this spirit to do meaningful creative work. This worldwide book club for writers brings together a group of dedicated creatives who want the same thing I do: new knowledge, fun, productivity, and connection—no strings attached. Is this you? Will you show up for yourself and your imagination, just once a month?


Katey Schultz’ story collection, Flashes of War, was awarded IndieFab Book of the Year and received a Gold Medal from the Military Writers Society of America. She has won more than half a dozen flash fiction contests, been awarded writing fellowships in eight states, and is currently seeking a publisher for her novel set in Afghanistan. Her newest online program, Airstream Dispatches: a worldwide book club for writers, brings together a group of dedicated creatives who want accountability, craft-based instructional writing prompts, and the community of other writers to feel supported and “seen.” Explore her online classes, ecourses, and writing at